My co-workers and I arrived in Manila just after 4pm on Wed, June 3. It was so humid, which I didn't mind. The airport was smaller than I had in mind. We went outside to look for a cab and there were two huge lines of people waiting for yellow cabs. The yellow cabs are the metered cabs and also the cheapest. But we wanted to get to our hotel already and start exploring so we opted for a white cab. White cabs are not metered, you have to bargain with the driver on how much you want to pay. There was five us and most cabs were small, so we got an SUV cab to fit us all. We ended up paying 1,400 Philippine Pesos ($38 CAD). We didn't argue because we had no idea how much things were yet, but one of my co-workers who was Filipino said it was expensive but we didn't care. So we got in the cab and headed to our hotel. On the way to our hotel we saw a lot of interesting posters and signs. There also a lot of poverty which I did not expect.
We saw a lot of the Jeep like cars, which are actually called "Jeepeney". Some of them had really weird names on them like "Virgin Boys" and "Slut life", not quite sure what the point of that was. There were other cars that had very Christian messages on them, like I saw when I was in Ghana. In the Jeepeney thee were people crammed in, even hanging out of the back of the car. So, I knew I had to try it out, it looked like fun.
I was so happy to see palm trees. I have missed them so much! On the way to the hotel we could see a great view of the bay which looked like a nice area to walk around. I think it took us about 45 mins to get to the hotel because of traffic. We stayed at Casa Bocobo in Ermita which I will review later. We didn't really do much because we got there late. By the time we were ready go out and explore it was evening.
The first thing we did was go find food to eat, so we walked to the Robinson's Mall. There was a lot of different places to eat like Jollabee's (Filipino version of McDonald's) and other places with buffet and fast food. We decided to go to this cheap Filipino restaurant, unfortunately we didn't notice it was vegetarian until we started eating the food and we knew we were eating chicken. I like vegetarian food, but that food was just really bad, I couldn't even finish half of it. After that we went to Jollabee's because we were all still hungry. After we were done eating we walked back to the hotel and tried to find something to do. We found a sky lounge at the Diamond Hotel so we decided to go look for it.
Ermita at night is a little scary. We were lost and it was our first night so we were walking around aimlessly and people were starring at us even getting up as we passed. My Filipino co-worker told us we need to be careful when we're out because people are very desperate and you never know what they would do which scared us even more. We had people coming up to us begging for money, we heard loud sounds like something or someone was in pain, we were just freaked out. I saw children dirty and digging in the garbage, definitely not a sight I wanted to see in my first few hours of being in Manila. When he said the Philippines was poor that was not the poor I expected for some reason. But thankfully we found the Diamond Hotel. The sky lounge had a great view of the harbour. There was also a live band that was amazing!
Welcome to Herxtravels!
I’m Hilda, the writer behind Herxtravels. Here you can find travel guides, reviews and tips. Find out more about me here.